Ex-LRTA chief posts bail on graft case
Former Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) administrator Melquiades Robles on Friday posted a P30,000 bail on his graft case for allegedly allowing the contractor to shortchange the train system of janitorial services in 2009.
This came after the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division found probable cause to order Robles’s arrest earlier this week.
“The Court finds that sufficient grounds exist for the finding of probable cause for the purpose of issuing warrant of arrest in this case,” read a one-page minute resolution by the court’s Fifth Division.
The court has also issued a hold departure order against Robles, 10 LRTA procurement officials and two private individuals facing one count of violating Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for alleged irregularity in the implementation of the janitorial services contract.
Under the maintenance contract with the joint venture of COMM Builders and Technology Philippines Corp., PMP Inc., and Gradski Saobracaj GRAS, LRTA procured the services of a minimum of 321 janitors at a monthly cost of P3.37 million.
But the LRTA officials and the joint venture allegedly conspired to reduce the minimum number of deployed janitors to 219, effectively modifying the terms of the contract.
The discrepancy allegedly resulted in injury to the government, to the tune of P1.07 million monthly or P12.86 million for the year 2009 alone, according to the charge sheet signed by Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer Janet Cabigas-Vejerano.
Charged alongside Robles were the following LRTA special bids and awards committee (SBAC) members: chair Marilou Liscano, Federico Canar Jr., Dennis Francisco, Evelyn Macalino, Elmo Stephen Triste and Eduardo Abiva.
Also charged were SBAC technical working group members Nicholas Ombao, Roger Vaño, Maynard Tolosa and Juliet Labisto, as well as joint venture representatives Lilia Diaz and Dennis Acorda.
Robles, who was a former spokesperson of the religious group El Shaddai, is also the president of Buhay party-list group. RAM/rga